Australia made it into Eurovision! Members of the Liberal and National Parties seemed to celebrate the news by competing in a series of performances which must have seemed clever when they were practising, but once it was on TV it just looked weird.
- Monday began with some powerful bipartisan resolutions. The first was for everyone affected by the Martin Place siege, and there were two more just before Question Time in memory of Labor giants, Tom Uren and Kep Enderby. We paid tribute to their work as ministers in the Whitlam Government and the contributions they made to Australian society.
- There’s a time for bipartisanship and there’s a time when home truths can’t be ignored. The Closing the Gap report was tabled on Wednesday and Bill refused to gloss over the Government’s $500 million cut to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander services. Liberal and National Party extremists staged a walk out, but when Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander leaders broke out in spontaneous applause at the end of Bill’s speech, the message was clear.
- They promised a stable, mature and adult Government. After months of chaos, dysfunction and leadership wrangling in the Government, Bill on Monday decided enough was enough and moved to a no confidence motion in the Prime Minister.
- For many of us, me included, opposition to capital punishment is part of what defines our core principles in politics. Yesterday parliament stopped for a unanimous plea to the Indonesian President on behalf of Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran. Julie Bishop and Tanya Plibersek delivered important and compassionate speeches which summed up how so many of us are feeling.
- This was great. After Chris Bowen reminded Tony Abbott that he expressed full confidence in the Defence Minister just before dumping him, he asked the PM how he felt about Joe Hockey. The PM’s reply: “I have full confidence in the Treasurer”. Tick tick tick.
- The Liberals had a leadership ballot. No one ran against Tony Abbott and still two thirds of his backbench voted against him. That’s right, two thirds thought anyone but Tony Abbott would be an improvement in the top job.
- “Good government starts today,” Tony Abbott said on Monday. On Tuesday Bill asked: “If good government starts today what on earth has the Prime Minister been doing for the past 521 days?” Bill dedicated the final question of the week to explain what Liberal/National good government looks like:
- Monday: 39 Liberal MPs voted against the the Prime Minister’s leadership.
- Tuesday: The Defence Minister failed to explain the Prime Minister’s minute-to-midnight submarine deal.
- Wednesday: The Treasurer insisted the Government is sticking to its unfair Budget.
- Thursday: The Prime Minister refused to acknowledge his list of broken promises.
- Tony Abbott’s position on where to build Australia’s new submarines has been anything but clear. On Monday it looked like he’d done a deal with Senator Edwards from South Australia (I didn’t know who he was either) to get his vote, but on Wednesday Senator Edwards didn’t seem to have any idea what the deal was.
- On Thursday Australia’s unemployment rate increased to 6.4%, the highest at any time since 2002 when Tony Abbott was Minister for Employment. Since Tony Abbott became Prime Minister nearly 100,000 more people have joined unemployment queues and still the Government has no plan for jobs.
- They might disagree about who should be Prime Minister, but they all love the Budget. No one in the Government believes their Budget is unfair and their policies are wrong, just ask Malcolm: “Every single member of the government supported every element in the budget,” he told Parliament on Tuesday.
Finally, it’s only the first week back but already Bronwyn Bishop is setting new records, booting Labor MPs out a record 309 times so far this Parliament.
The #5and5 will be back in two weeks.